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Old 28-06-2012, 10:59   #1
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Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

Hello All! My husband and I are in our early 30's with 4 children ranging in age from 14 to 4 and we have decided on a major lifestyle change. We are working towards being a liveaboard family and have just found our first boat. It's a 25' 1982 McGregor w/ a swing keel already on a trailer and in our price range, $3k. It's a starter boat for us that we plan on sailing at any and all free moments in our local lakes, then sailing the coast when we are more knowledgeable. In the next couple of years we hope to move up to a larger boat that will comfortably sleep all of us and be able to cruise. I'm excited but a little more cautious than my hubby. Any advice for us newbies on this type of boat as a starter?
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Old 28-06-2012, 11:11   #2
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

That sounds great! For $3k, it hardly seems like you can go wrong.

Just keep in mind that your trailer sailor will be different than a "real" cruising boat. It's extremely light, and has a lot of set-up/take-down requirements. This can be minimized if you can trailer it with the mast up (meaning you will store it at the lake, or you can take backroads with no overhead lines), or of course if you can keep it at a dock (which will have the effect of increasing your bottom cleaning requirements)

This boat will give you experience:
1) Handling sails and lines in a variety of wind conditions
2) Experiencing the feel of a monohull boat
3) Understanding the role of the swing-keel at different points of tack (directions of sail)
4) Sailboat maintenance and mechanics

You will NOT experience:
1) Liveaboard characteristics of a boat (cooking, cleaning, housekeeping, emergency management, budgeting, income production)
2) Sea conditions
3) Inboard engine and saildrive operations
4) The greater weight and stability of a larger cruising vessel

So I think you'll have a great time with your family, just don't get distressed by the setup/takedown effort, or feeling crowded when you have a whole family aboard. A liveaboard/cruising boat won't have those issues.

If you find the rocking/heeling motion of the boat unpleasant (and you probably won't really experience them on a lake anyway), again don't get discouraged by that, as there are other boat designs that minimize or eliminate those effects (i.e. multihulled boats and certain wide-beamed monohull boats)

Have fun!
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Old 28-06-2012, 11:46   #3
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

learn on the MAc and as you grow charter to get the 'live a board' feel.

good luck
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Old 28-06-2012, 12:12   #4
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

It's a good plan. I echo ArtM's provisos, but it's fine way to get going. Another thought is to get sailing with other people. If you are near a yacht club or boater community you should be able to get some experience on other boats. Crewing in club races is a great way to learn the lines.
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Old 28-06-2012, 12:14   #5
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

Thanks for the advice and encouragement! We definitely thought the $3k was hard to beat and definitely worth just using it on our local lakes. With 4 kiddos and a tight budget we'll have to make more plans and goals before we can grow into chartering to get more of a live aboard feel. We're hard workers and optimistic about our future so I'm positive it will all come to fruition. I'm decent with a sewing machine too so I'm looking into classes to repair sails (and where to find the heavy duty machinery to do it) and my husband is already a welder so I think we're already headed in the right direction.
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Old 28-06-2012, 14:51   #6
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
It's a good plan. I echo ArtM's provisos, but it's fine way to get going. Another thought is to get sailing with other people. If you are near a yacht club or boater community you should be able to get some experience on other boats. Crewing in club races is a great way to learn the lines.
Yeah, I was thinking of that too. Joining a local sailing club will get you access to experienced sailors who will likely be eager to help you learn the operation and care of the boat, and the kids (or you) might really enjoy some recreational racing.
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Old 28-06-2012, 16:40   #7
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

Advice for newbies?

Perhaps: Have fun! Plenty of it!

(Sailing is all about having fun, and finding ways to fund it.)

Cheers,
b.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:00   #8
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

4 Children will be a tight fit on that boat, but probably bearable for a weekend. That is an excellent lake boat, I can step the mast with a little help from my 12 year old, so you should be able to do the same. It takes about an hour.

I would make a checklist,

1. for supplies, and safety gear, (assign an older child to insure everyone has a life jacket).

2. For setup, while trying to herd a group of children it is easy to forget something, like a line, or a shroud, ....or a seacock, or drain plug.

Finally getting the mast up, and having to lower it again because a halyard went up with the mast, or two standing lines were mixed, is very frustrating, and tries the patience of small children, (and adults).

A checklist not only helps things get done in order, but gives tasks that can be delegated to the spouse, or older children.

And bring plenty of snacks, and water. My kids usually like start to hit the snacks before the boat gets wet!

To avoid large amounts of waste, I would preload the snacks into a large reusable container, instead of individually wrapped serving size snacks. The amount of garbage you collect will quickly fill the boat if you don't.

I've found except in heavy wind days, raise the sails at the dock, and just leave the sheets loose. It is too much trouble to have a crew hold the helm, while stepping over people to go forward, while you raise them, and inexperienced crew are more trouble than help in wrestling them to the deck.

I let someone else control the mainsheet line, giving them the challenge of controlling the speed, and the heeling.

With 4 kids, you could put one on each jib sheet, and tack by calling them by name.

A bimini is worth gold, the sun beating down in the hot cockpit gets old, and tiring fast.

I would leash the 4 year old to an adult, (your wife, you'll be busy), and make the rule everyone wears life jackets, the smaller kid is leashed anytime on deck.

Have fun, and be safe. Anchoring in a quiet cove, and swimming in the shallows is one of my families favorite memories.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:09   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennelopesmom
Hello All! My husband and I are in our early 30's with 4 children ranging in age from 14 to 4 and we have decided on a major lifestyle change. We are working towards being a liveaboard family and have just found our first boat. It's a 25' 1982 McGregor w/ a swing keel already on a trailer and in our price range, $3k. It's a starter boat for us that we plan on sailing at any and all free moments in our local lakes, then sailing the coast when we are more knowledgeable. In the next couple of years we hope to move up to a larger boat that will comfortably sleep all of us and be able to cruise. I'm excited but a little more cautious than my hubby. Any advice for us newbies on this type of boat as a starter?
This is going to sound really weird but go buy something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/RCA-DRC6272-Tw...uto+dvd+player

We started with a 4 y/o and an 8 y/o on board. At that age the attraction of sailing wears off quick. We about wore out my little pony. We mounted one unit in the main salon and the other on the oppoosite side of the bulkhead in the v- berth. The dual nature allowed the kids to watch the same video or different videos in different "rooms" on the boat.

I would love to day the kids were happy on deck for 5 hours but the reality is they get bored and the videos were a big relief to have.

Byt the way in terms of sailing, take it slow, learn at yiur own pace and have lots of fun.
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Old 04-07-2012, 09:53   #10
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

My first sailboat was an older 25 MacGregor. When I bought it, neither me or my GF had ever even been on a sailboat in our lives. I got some sailing books from the library and took them with me to work. I read them all in 2 days. They all say opretty much the same thing. I called my GF and told her that to take a 2 week vacation when I got home. We loaded up and sailed from Gulfport, Ms. to Panama City Fl. and back in the 2 weeks. Sometimes we were in the IntraCoastal Waterway and sometimes we went into the open Gulf of Mexico. It was a great trip and we learned so much by doing.
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Old 04-07-2012, 11:02   #11
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ex-Calif View Post
This is going to sound really weird but go buy something like this.

http://www.amazon.com/RCA-DRC6272-Tw...uto+dvd+player

We started with a 4 y/o and an 8 y/o on board. At that age the attraction of sailing wears off quick. We about wore out my little pony. We mounted one unit in the main salon and the other on the oppoosite side of the bulkhead in the v- berth. The dual nature allowed the kids to watch the same video or different videos in different "rooms" on the boat.

I would love to day the kids were happy on deck for 5 hours but the reality is they get bored and the videos were a big relief to have.

Byt the way in terms of sailing, take it slow, learn at yiur own pace and have lots of fun.

I can't agree enough. When our daughter was still sailing with us she got out of it everything I hoped she would, Fun, thrills, independance, responsibility rarely offered to kids today and a confidence very few of her peers have come close to.
But, I still know all the words to the songs in The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Alladin, The Sound of Music, Muppet Treasure Island (still one of my favorites) all the Shirley Temple movies and I still check out the Little Rascals once in awhile when nobody is around. I learned that kids will have fun with you on a boat if they can have some of their own fun as well.
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Old 04-07-2012, 12:44   #12
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony B View Post
My first sailboat was an older 25 MacGregor. When I bought it, neither me or my GF had ever even been on a sailboat in our lives. I got some sailing books from the library and took them with me to work. I read them all in 2 days. They all say opretty much the same thing. I called my GF and told her that to take a 2 week vacation when I got home. We loaded up and sailed from Gulfport, Ms. to Panama City Fl. and back in the 2 weeks. Sometimes we were in the IntraCoastal Waterway and sometimes we went into the open Gulf of Mexico. It was a great trip and we learned so much by doing.
That sounds very familiar to what we are doing too! I'm more of a hands-on learner and my hubby can absorb everything he reads so we got a TON of books and have been looking up things we don't quite understand online or watching videos of people sailing and fixing things on youtube. We would love to drop everything and just go for it for a couple of weeks but with all of the other 'stuff' we have in our lives we have to plan way in advance. But weekends on the lake are very doable and that's where you'll find us for the rest of summer.
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:00   #13
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Re: Wobbly steps of a Newbie Family

I love your avatar.

Don't worry, as long as you watch the weather, and learn navigation, (not an issue in a lake), You'll be fine.

Besides if something goes wrong, just drop the sails and crank the outboard.
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